Monday, 8 July 2013

Fiona McLean-Buechel and South West Camerata Classical Journey Tuesday 9 July 2013

South West Camerata
Leader: Fiona McLean-Buechel
(front row second from left)
On today's 'Classical Journey' we will be joined by one of our hardest-working promoters of music education in the South West. This ensemble and orchestral player - and frequently orchestra leader (e.g. Peter Milmer's Requiem, Exeter Cathedral 8 Oct 2011) - is passionate about providing the best opportunities for young musicians to flourish.

Violinist: Fiona McLean-Buechel
Fiona McLean-Buechel came to Devon in 2003, from London where she was personally responsible for the stringed instrument training of children in over seventy schools - nearly a thousand players. With that experience, it was only a matter of time before she was making an impact here as well.

Fiona collaborated with Jill Bird (then Deputy-Head of the Totnes King Edward VI Community College) on the inaugural Summer Youth Programme for Strings at Dartington Hall in 2005. Working with Simon Ible (Director of Music at 'Peninsula Arts', Plymouth University) Fiona went on to found 'South West Camerata' in January 2006.

Jill Bird
By 2008, over one hundred young string players booked places on the Summer Youth Programme at Dartington - and South West Camerata were invited to perform at the Dartmouth Regatta in August the same year.

Throughout this time Fiona had been developing a system of 'Emerging Music Leaders' - students whose increasing knowledge and ability were redirected to training the next generation of young musicians. In the summer of 2009 the Emerging Music Leaders held their first residential course for string players at Golant Youth Hostel in Cornwall. The course attracted 77 schoolchildren from across the UK.

Simon Ible
Through Fiona's determination South West Camerata now has connections with the National Associations of Youth Orchestras, whose Chief Executive (and Secretary of the European String Teachers Association), David Marcou, provides extra coaching for Fiona's more advanced students.

David Marcou
Further discussions with David Marcou led to South West Camerata being involved in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They were also invited to launch the 'Tune In Year Of Music' (2009/10) created by the National Government's Department for Children Schools and Families (replaced in 2010 by the Department of Education).

In 2010 the South West Camerata were front page news in the European String Teachers Association quarterly magazine 'Arco'. (The instruction "Arco" in a musical score means "play with the bow", by the way!)

Gabriel Prokofiev
Rupert Bond
Further collaborations followed, with Gabriel Prokofiev (founder of 'Nonclassical') and Rupert Bond (composer and international conductor, most famous for his 'Docklands Sinfonietta' in London, but lives in Devon - in Kingsbridge). South West Camerata were joined by the West Dunbartonshire Council Youth Orchestra, and the South Korean 'Yong In Youth Orchestra' in a performing tour of Scotland.

Jonathan Schranz
& Jack Oades
Many of Fiona's former students are well known to us now for their successful work in music. Jonathan Schranz and Jack Oades, both former students of Fiona got together last December to give a 'Messiah' workshop at St Michael's Church in Exeter - Jonathan directed the music, while Jack provided piano accompaniment for the rehearsals. For the evening concert, Fiona took over from Jack - with South West Camerata. (See 'One Week': 3-10 Dec 2012)

For the evening performance of Handel's Messiah
Fiona McLean-Buechel leads South West Camerata

Hannah &
Bethany Partridge
Rebecca Willson
Hannah and Bethany Partridge are also former students - who returned to sing Mozart's 'Mass in C Minor' at Exeter Cathedral on  25 Feb 2012. One former student is making a name for herself as a swing violinist with the 'Zazou Cowboys' and classical violist with the Locrian Quartet, as well as developing new piano repertoire, and fronting the highly successful and innovative 'Nonclassical' evenings at Exeter Bikeshed Theatre. We know her well - Rebecca Willson!

Four Seasons String Quartet
Fiona also gets together with fellow violinist Lindsay Braga, violist Cathryn McCracken and 'cellist Rebecca Allnatt to perform as the professional ensemble - 'The Four Seasons String Quartet'. She also brings her experience, with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, closer to home - with Simon Ible's Plymouth-based 'Ten Tors Orchestra'.

Fiona and her students will be with us from 10am to discuss their various projects - and share their music. Vivaldi seems a good starting point . . .

Hope you can join us!

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